[blog] some tactics to increase readership

Browsing through some of my old posts, I stumbled across a comment that I never got back to! TSLuna asked me how to increase views on one’s online output. I can definitely share some of the things I’ve done that have increased the ilam’s popularity. However, I blog mostly for fun and so I have not been very invested in increasing my popularity, so these are definitely not the only ways to increase your readership.

Along with replying to comments, actively maintain one or two more social media portals. For example, I tweet quite frequently, and outside of this blog, I interact with my readers most on Twitter. Recently, I have discovered tumblr and Pinterest are quite good at directing views to ilam, though I do not keep a Pinterest. However, just posting things on social media is not enough; you definitely need to make the time to interact with the people who are commenting on your things and talking to you. They took the time to write a comment to you and read your blog, so you should definitely repay the favor. Besides, why did you enable the comments unless you actually wanted people to interact with you?

For bigger blogs with thousands of comments, replying to everything is not feasible, of course, but for smaller blogs like mine and maybe yours, it is worth it because you are showing that everyone matters and you value their opinion. In the long run, I think it is better to have a small group of loyal readers as opposed to a large group of people who skim headlines.

You should choose carefully the social media outlets you use. For example, if you want to appeal to a bunch of tech geeks, Google+ is the way to go. For kpop, I think it must be a combination of tumblr and Twitter. For stay-at-home moms, you should definitely give Pinterest a whirl. For hipsters, Instagram.. and the list goes on.

(Though I must confess, there are some comments I have never replied to because I can’t bring myself to think about it yet. Schubert comment, I will someday get back to you! One day!)

Produce content on schedule. Alas, I struggle with this heavily because I have a highly hectic schedule from year to year. However, if you have a reliable timetable, people will be more inclined to check what you are up to and pay attention. These past two weeks, I have been posting like a madwoman, and I have been subsequently been rewarded with many more views.

Produce good content. This is the most important and hardest thing to do, because you need to find what exactly makes you stand out and subsequently hone your craft. It can feel frustrating that maybe you do something really well (like reviewing SHINee), but no one pays attention (you only show up on the third page of Google results). Nonetheless, I am a firm believer that if you keep persevering, eventually the right people will notice you. No one is going to notice you if you do not have good content at first, no matter how good your publicity is.

Also, play to your intended audience. If I was like the anti-kpop fangirl, cursing and using internet lingo everywhere, I do not think I would appeal to my target audience, which I believe is mostly well-educated and greater than 15 years old. If you are on the fence of whether you should be colloquial or professional with your language, I would first try professional, because toning down the professional is a lot easier than trying to change your image from low-brow to high-brow. I admit this is a huge consistency problem with ilam, where for a time I was highly colloquial and then highly strict, but now I think I have settled in a good medium. I also will say that if I start to read a kpop review that does not use proper grammar, I immediately distrust anything they are about to tell me. If you are interested in reading about what makes a kpop review good, check out this previous post.

Be passive-aggressive about publicity. Ask some of your friends to put you on their blogrolls, go on similar blogs and leave thoughtful comments (while leaving a link to your blog), post on forums with your blog link in your signature. Unless someone is directly asking for your blog or opinion, do not post something like “LOOKIT MY BLOG IT IS SO AMAZIN’ N SHINY”. Be tactful and considerate.

You can also consider doing collaborations and perhaps guest posting on another blog. For example, you could apply to write on seoulbeats or koreaboo, which would definitely increase your publicity. I considered doing that but seeing what kind of comments seoulbeats tends to attract, I am a big fat coward and decided not to do it for now, as I am very content to fester in the relative anonymity of my home blog.

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3 thoughts on “[blog] some tactics to increase readership

  1. Agree with all your thoughts Michelle! Funnily enough I’m reading this post because I saw your tweet about it – as college students it’s definitely difficult to maintain a steady schedule but it’s so so true that a small, loyal readership outweighs a large, shallower one. I feel like it takes time and repeated contact to make meaningful connections in the blogosphere but in the end it’s worth it. For me, publicity is weird because I write an odd mix of personal posts, book reviews, and occasional social commentary/thoughts on pop music… ah well, I’ll work with what I’ve got.

    Anyway, glad your views are increasing over break, and I hope you’re gearing yourself up well for the next semester. (:

  2. Hi!
    Oh my god thanks so so much for the extended/detailed reply.
    Similarly also agreed a bunch. Its always difficult to figure out the balance between good material vs trying hard to gaining popularity and this does give interesting/good insight on other youtubers/bloggers schedules now. makes me wonder how those high school-start-into-college-youtubers managed to find time for it all, like dang.
    yea, i’ve found creating cohesive and enjoyable vlog reviews difficult to balance and compared to blogs (previously i was constantly editing down 30+ minutes of footage into often 6-10+ min vlogs.)
    (Tho since that comment, orz, thanks so much, i’ve gone on a hiatus from reviews.)

    In regards to professional vs colloquial tone and figuring out a strong point (which you mentioned in a linked post on the original post), i’ve found that my earlier vlogs (and eatyourkimchi and linzerdinzer) had this pseudo-authoritative-trying-to-be-assertive-opinionated-but-not-really tone which over time they’ve evolved into something less nervous. since your writing style kind of evolved over time, how would you say going about figuring out a tone thats not that pseudo-authoritative-thingabove?

    • mm not a problem. Agreed. Vlogs are much harder to do because you really need to work at the visual much more.

      I’m still in the “assertive opinionated” phase that you describe and I don’t think it will ever go away for any of us.. because we’re fundamentally trying to persuade people our opinion matters more than random-person-on-the-street, so we definitely need to project the “we know something you don’t” aura. The trouble is trying to balance it. I think humor works really well for eatyourkimchi, for me, it’s adopting a less professional tone (using contractions, being a little more free when writing in comments, etc) and using humility by stressing that I’m quite ignorant in this or that even though I’m commenting on it. You can also go the “I don’t care what anyone thinks” route but you really have to be sassy for that and have really great points for people to stick wit yo arrogant ‘tude, which I do think that McRoth does sometimes.. haha. Not sure on how to guide you on this because I think your own personality is quite key to this decision too! If you’re a laidback / comedic person, then it’s probably not a good idea to be really professional because it won’t be true to your own brand.

      I think for me the change in tone came because my thinking has greatly matured and been influenced by my education, and thus I had a different vision for my blog during the three or so years that I’ve been writing for it. In the early days, I thought that this blog would be a jack-of-all-trades and post about everything I found was interesting, so there were a lot of short posts with news items and a little commentary, which was really quite friendly and colloquial. However, as I started doing SHINee reviews, I found I really liked it and it grew in length and importance the more I became aware of certain types of analysis that I was exposed to in college. Kind of like what I mentioned before, reviews need to project some sort of self-importance to be taken seriously, so then I kind of plunged into the uber-pro mode. However, I’ve grown a lot more laidback since then because I recognize that do want to reach a larger audience and not set up a wall immediately because my word choice is way too upscale and snobby. c:

      Michelle

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